My 2015 Reading List

I managed to read 24 books in 2015. I’m currently reading Emily Giffin’s The One and Only and I’m going to try and finish it before January 1st, but for now my number is 24. I’d aimed to read 30 books this year so I missed by… let’s say 5. 

Which books did I love? The Happiness of Pursuit (Chris Guillebeau). Waking Up (Sam Harris). Big Magic (Elizabeth Gilbert). The Art of Asking (Amanda Palmer). Daring Greatly (Brene Brown). 

The only book on this list that could be described as bad would be, you guessed it, Grey. I had fun reading it but it was horribly cheesy and as poorly written as the Fifty Shades of Grey trilogy. 

What books do I plan to read in 2016? I’m going to finish The One and Only (if I don’t finish it before Friday), followed by possibly finishing A Town Called Alice (a book that my dad recommended that I had a really hard time getting in to).

In the spirit of de-cluttering (thanks, Marie Kondo), I didn’t ask for many books for the holidays this year. Besides The One and Only, I received Griftopia (Matt Taibbi), Revenge Wears Prada (Lauren Weisberger), and Columbine (Dave Cullen). 

My attempt to not gather and hoard books anymore I believe will be proven futile after walking through Strand Books tonight. I saw so many books that I wanted to buy and read. Books like St. Mark’s is Dead, One of Us, Just Kids, The Opposite of Loneliness, and 10:04. I also have a ton more nonfiction novels on my floating book case in my apartment.

So many choices. So many books. So little time. I’m setting a goal of reading 25 books in 2016. I should be able to easily.

So I skipped seeing Fifty Shades of Grey in theatres on opening weekend (I was congested) but I went to this morning (which, yes, I know, is kind of like drinking whiskey before, or so I’ve been told). Since it was before noon, it meant the ticket was half price and I was going to hop into a showing of Still Alice (so good, but depressing!) afterward so technically I was paying $4 to see the movie. 

So, I hate to say it, I didn’t think it was possible, but the dialogue in the movie might be worse than the writing in the books. It was so cheesy. But unlike the two costars chemistry in various interviews and photoshoots, they do seem like they have chemistry in the movie. So, you know, that’s good. Possibly some spoiler alerts ahead….

The movie is pretty much the same as the book, but I feel like there was way less sex (they don’t, as I predicted, show the scene where he rips her tampon out because he has to have sex with her again at that very moment for the 1000th time). We never see Ana meet with Grey’s doctor and we never see Jose after the night that he sexually assaults Ana. 

Is it a bad sign that I didn’t flinch at all when they first panned around Christian’s Red Room? There were some riding crops, some restraints, lots of floggers, a couch, and a bed. What’s the big deal? I didn’t see any knives around. (Let me know if I missed something though!)

There’s a meme going around on Facebook right now saying that Christian’s pursuits of Ana were only OK because he was a gorgeous billionaire and if he lived in a trailer, he would’ve ended up in jail. I agree. This is probably the case. However, a dude who lives in a trailer doesn’t have the means to fly someone in their personal helicopter to their penthouse or bestow upon them lavish gifts like first editions of books, Macbooks, or Audis. Christian tells Ana time and time again that she is free to leave whenever she wants to and his driver will take her home, etc. There are a few other things that I’d like to contest:

First: There was an article I read saying he plied her with alcohol, implying she was also drunk when she was talked into having sex with him. This is false, false, false. The night when she is fall down-blacked out drunk is the night that Christian saves her from being sexually assaulted by Jose after she graduates. Because she vomits all over herself and passes out, he takes her back to his hotel room, puts her in an oversized white t-shirt and lets her sleep. He gives her Advil and breakfast the next morning. Wow, what a manipulative asshole. Alcohol is in various scenes but it’s used as “stage” business. He takes out, glasses, pours the wine, they maybe take one sip, and then they put it down to go have sex somewhere. He is not using alcohol as a device to get her to do what he wants.

Next myth: she is being abused. She is so not. He keeps giving her multiple outs if she’s not comfortable or wants to leave. They have safe words. He checks with her that she knows what those safe words are (red and yellow) before anything happens. When she is restrained and getting flogged or whatnot, she is smiling and by all means looks 100% to be enjoying herself. Is this something she ever thought she’d be into? I’m guessing not. But like I said: she had ways to tell him to stop and he, I believe, would have. He was all about the trust (both in the books AND movie). If you’ve ever been flogged, you know it doesn’t really hurt (I’m sure, if done in a certain way, it CAN hurt but how he was using it, I’m quite sure that was not the intention). 

The only time when he goes too far is when she asks, rather demands, to experience the “worst of it.” He hits her (on her ass) six times with a belt. This is too much for her and understandably so (it sounded like it hurt a lot). She is obviously not a painslut. As we’ll find out in the sequel (spoiler alert!), he’ll go to her and ask why she didn’t use the safe word like they’d agreed upon. 

So, I’m going to go ahead and say that everything Ana did was her choice (and Dakota said in her interview with Glamour the same thing). She got pushed past her boundaries in the last scene because she allowed it. 

I liked the movie, but didn’t love it (probably because of the heinous dialogue). I think this was pretty vanilla compared to the book and actual real-life BDSM. I think the disservice that this franchise does is portray all those who partake in BDSM as formerly abused children, which isn’t the case at all.

But what’d you think of the movie? I’d love to hear.